Sports betting continues to be the hot topic of debate when it comes to legislation. Across the United States, individual states are reviewing the option and trying to find ways to implement the betting option that will be fruitful. In Montana, not one, but two bills are currently being considered. S 330 and H 725 are gaining ground, both set to be approved by the end of this week.
Two Bills to Consider
H 725 is a House bill that would place the Montana Lottery in charge of operating sports betting services. The bill was able to pass within the Senate yesterday after a vote of 32 to 18. S 330 is a senate bill sponsored by Senate President Mark Blasdel. Mr. Blasdel spoke up during the hearing of the House bill, showing his support before the vote took place.
Blasdel said that he spoke with the sponsor of the bill and they both think the House and Senate measure should move forward. With competition, it will create opportunity for what products will be available as well as even the playing field for players.
Based on the state laws of Montana, the bill must be read through a third time. This will happen today, and it is expected that the House measure will be approved. From there, the bill will move on to the governor’s desk.
On Monday, the House passed an amended version of the Senate bill with an overwhelming vote of 90 to 9. The sports betting bill would allow operators in the state to be licensed, choosing who they wish to work with as a partner. According to Legal Sports Report, Blasdel was in favor of the changes to his bill. The Senate is set to approve this bill this week as well.
Sports Betting in Montana
In the state, gambling licensing is involved with liquor licensing. There are many venues such as taverns and bars that offer video gaming terminals. Players have been visiting such establishments for years to enjoy keno, video poker and lottery games.
With sports betting, kiosks would then be made available to place wagers at such establishments as well as online wagering. The state would like to allow mobile and online game play, but the bills limit this activity to inside the gaming facility, so they will not see as much revenues as they would if online gaming were legalized across the state.
The age to gamble in the state is 18 and this is the age that sports betting will be offered to as well. If both bills pass, gamblers will find kiosks offered by the lottery as well as those contracted via sportsbooks on offer.
Reportedly, companies have already shown interest in offering services in the state. According to Blasdel, MGM and William Hill have shown interest. It would not be surprising to see such companies offer services in the state as they are already involved in the industry within other states in the US.
For now, it will be interesting to watch this week to see if both bills move forward and just how the state will implement sports betting within their borders.